The Ian Fletcher Memorial Lecture Series


Pamela K. Gilbert"'A Mild Erection of the Head': The Meaning of the Blush in Nineteenth-Century Britain"

The Fletcher Lecture 2014-2015
April 14, 2015   |   5:30 p.m.
University Club (UCLUB) ASU

The 2014-2015 Ian Fletcher Memorial Lecture features Pamela Gilbert, the Albert Brick Professor in the Department of English at the University of Florida. Gilbert has published widely in the areas of Victorian literature, cultural studies and the history of medicine. Her first book, Disease, Desire and the Body in Victorian Women’s Popular Novels, was published by Cambridge University Press in 1997, followed by Mapping the Victorian Social Body (SUNY Press, 2004), The Citizen’s Body (Ohio State University Press, 2007), and Cholera and Nation (SUNY Press, 2008). Gilbert’s most recent articles include “Disease and the Body” in The Victorian World; “Women and Medicine in the Age of Empire” in The Cultural History of Women in The Age of Empire (1800-1920); and “‘A Nation of Good Animals’: Popular Beliefs and the Body,” in A Cultural History of the Body.

Gilbert will present the talk, "'A Mild Erection of the Head': The Meaning of the Blush in Nineteenth-Century Britain." One might assume that the frequent mention of blushing in British nineteenth-century literature is simply part of an emphasis on female modesty. In fact, both self-consciousness and the blush were embroiled in a history of contentious discussion in the period: on materialism, the human-animal divide, the embodied mind, the function of the nervous system, evolution, criminology, and even theology. Gilbert's presentation will trace several aspects of this discussion through the period, with special attention to the anatomist Charles Bell and Charles Darwin.

The lecture is free of charge and open to the public. Refreshments will follow.

The Ian Fletcher Memorial Lecture 2015Printable flyer [PDF].

Sponsored by the ASU Department of English.

For more information, please contact: Dan Bivona.